Sex, Drugs and GDP: the Challenge of Measuring the Shadow Economy (WSJ)
The U.K., Ireland and Italy are among the nations now moving to include illicit doings when tallying their gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services across an economy. The U.K. could add as much as $9 billion to the value of its GDP by including prostitution and about $7.4 billion by adding illegal drugs, by one estimate, enough to boost the size of its economy by 0.7%. Not to be outdone, Italy will include smuggling as well as drugs and prostitution. Both changes will begin later this year. Other nations in Europe are also poised to fall in line with a European Union call to standardize and broaden GDPs. The EU is following a “best practices” directive laid out in 2008 by the United Nations.
Valeant not just a serial acquirer: Bill Ackman (CNBC)
Valeant Pharmaceuticals is not just a roll-up vehicle that has to keep buying other companies in order to grow its business, hedge fund manager Bill Ackman told CNBC on Monday. He appeared on “Squawk Box” to defend his efforts to help Valeant takeover Botox-maker Allergan. “A bad roll-up is a company that uses an over-inflated stock price and a high multiple and non-cash GAAP earnings, heavily promoted by a CEO, to acquire companies at lower multiples,” he argued. Valeant Chairman and CEO J. Michael Pearson has built a business that “looks a lot more like a Colgate or Procter & Gamble than your typical pharmaceutical company,” Ackman cited as a reason he’s behind Pearson’s vision.
Credit Suisse Said to Mull Selling Stake in Fixed-Income Venture [Bloomberg]
The electronic platform, Wake USA LLC, is a joint venture with high-frequency trading firm Tower Research Capital LLC for U.S. Treasuries and other fixed-income products, according to a regulatory filing showing that the unit gained approval to operate earlier this year. Credit Suisse is in the process of moving clients over to that unit and may sell part of its majority stake to reduce capital requirements, said the person, asking to remain anonymous because sale talks are preliminary.
Lagarde Says IMF ‘Got It Wrong’ on Rallying U.K. Economy (Bloomberg)
The International Monetary Fund underestimated the strength of the U.K. economy when warning against the government’s austerity program, Managing Director Christine Lagarde said. “We got it wrong,” Lagarde told the “Andrew Marr Show” on BBC Television yesterday. “We acknowledged it. Clearly the confidence building that has resulted from the economic policies adopted by the government has surprised many of us.”
Second Wall Street bank picks Brazil in World Cup (NYP)
UBS picked host country Brazil as the odds-on favorite to win the soccer tournament, which starts Thursday. While the Swiss bank is picking the legendary squad to win, it isn’t as sure as the bankers at Goldman Sachs — which issued a report on the World Cup last week. UBS said Brazil has a 30 percent chance of winning — Goldman put the odds of Brazil hoisting the trophy at 46.5 percent.
Hershey sues Colorado edible pot company (AP)
The Hershey Co. has sued a Colorado marijuana edibles maker, claiming it makes four pot-infused candies that too closely resemble iconic products of the chocolate maker. The trademark infringement lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Denver this week against TinctureBelle LLC and TinctureBelle Marijuanka LLC. It alleges TinctureBelle’s Ganja Joy, Hasheath, Hashees and Dabby Patty mimic Hershey’s Almond Joy, Heath, Reese’s peanut butter cups and York peppermint patty candies, respectively.
Bill Gross Bulls Butt Heads With Bears in Great Bond Debate (Bloomberg)
The proportion of investors betting on gains or losses in Treasuries, rather than holding a neutral view, almost doubled this year to 51 percent, a client survey by JPMorgan Chase & Co. showed. The 23 percentage-point jump is the most for the period since the top-ranked firm for U.S. fixed-income research by Institutional Investor magazine began its weekly survey in 2003. With Treasury yields at historically low levels, the stakes are rising as the Federal Reserve cuts back the bond buying that’s held down borrowing costs on trillions of dollars of debt from governments to companies and individuals. The debate pits Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Bill Gross, who says yields can stay low because growth and interest rates won’t return to pre-crisis levels, against market-rules theorist Robert Farrell, who contends asset prices always revert toward the average.
Judge denies Singer, won’t rebuke Argentina on debt plan (NYP)
A Manhattan federal court judge last week refused a request by hedge fund investor Paul Singer to chide Argentina over its apparent “best option” plan to default on all its debt should it lose its last-chance appeal later this week. Singer was enraged by a leaked confidential memo written by the country’s lawyers at Cleary Gottlieb that indicated Argentina was considering defaulting on all of its debt should the Supreme Court decline a request to hear the case. Judge Thomas Griesa had ordered Argentina to pay all bondholders — including holdouts like Singer — if it made its scheduled payments to those bondholders that agreed years ago to a severe haircut in a debt restructuring. Lawyers for Singer’s Elliott Management called the memo a “smoking gun” that proved Argentina was preparing to disobey the court’s order to pay up.
Burglar in crotchless pants attacks Brisbane sex store worker with toys (ABC)
Police say the 34-year-old man forced his way through the ceiling of the store in the northern suburb of Aspley in the early hours of Saturday morning. The female manager of the store was alerted when the man set off an alarm. When the owner confronted the man, who was wearing a wig, dress and crotchless pants, he allegedly threw a number of sex toys at the woman. The thief climbed back through the ceiling and onto the roof where he was arrested by police.